Preventative care describes measures that are performed in an effort to prevent an illness or injury. Preventative care is often divided into two main areas, which include practicing good health habits as a defense against illness and disease, and using preventive services such as childhood immunisations, yearly physicals and screening tests to prevent or catch disease early. This section provides an overview about preventative care, as well as information on its importance and details about the services available.
For tips on the most essential habits for a healthy lifestyle, go to the section Health Habits. Finally, our Self Help Resources can point you to other sources of information to support you on your preventative care journey.
Medical research has come a long way, and as a result, people live much longer than they used to. For this reason, maintaining your body and good health throughout your entire lifetime has never been so important. Eating right, getting regular exercise and avoiding destructive substances like tobacco, alcohol and excessive amounts of sugar and salt are crucial aspects of preventative care. For more information, see Maintaining Good Health Habits.
In addition to these habits, regular visits with your doctor are recommended to make use of preventive services. These services will help you to stay healthy and catch disease early, when a full cure is much more likely. Preventive services include periodic screening tests for specific problems, such as cholesterol screening, colon cancer screening, as well as routine Pap tests for women or prostate exams for men.
According to a 2007 study by the Partnership for Prevention , preventive services are grossly underused. After studying the top 12 preventive care services, the authors concluded that increasing the use of just 5 of these services would save more than 100,000 lives each year in the United States alone.
Maintaining good health habits is the cornerstone of preventative care. Healthy habits will not only improve the quality of your life by boosting your energy, helping you feel good about yourself, stabilising your mood, and keeping your body as healthy as possible – it may also help you live longer.
The following are some simple factors that, if practiced regularly, can enrich life and minimise the risk of illness:
For more self help resources, please visit the following associations.